Jacquelyn N. Leonardi
On November 11, 1815, in Bennington, Vermont, Anne Lynch began her life as the youngest child of two and the only daughter born to Irish patriot Patrick Lynch and Charlotte Gray. Tragically, while seeking new lands in Cuba for his fellow Irishmen, Patrick Lynch died at sea only a few years after Anne's birth, leaving Charlotte alone to raise Anne and her brother. Charlotte moved the family from Windham, Connecticut, to Hartford.
At sixteen years of age, Anne entered the Albany Female Academy in Albany, New York. In 1834, after graduating with highest honors, she remained at the academy and taught for two years. She continued this livelihood at Shelter Island, New York, where she tutored three daughters of the Gardiner family.
In 1838, Lynch and her mother moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where Anne instructed young women in her home. In addition to teaching, she compiled her first book in 1841, The Rhode-Island Book, an anthology of prose and verse from Rhode Island citizens. Her relocation to Providence originated Lynch's literary and hostessing career as she held receptions once a week in her drawing room that attracted the "local litterateurs."
The receptions continued when she settled in New York City in the mid- 1840s, but she also maintained her career in education, teaching English composition at the Brooklyn Academy for Women. At the academy, she proved herself a writer by contributing verse, travel letters, and critical articles to various periodicals including the Democratic Review, The Christian Parlor Magazine, and N. P. Willis Home Journal.
Her reputation as writer was undermined, though, by her reputation as literary hostess. However, Lynch did not use her receptions merely to find her niche in